In January 1998, the Women’s Journals Foundation launched a strategy called The Milk Politics to kickstart the overthrow of Soeharto’s authoritarian New Order regime in Indonesia. Utilising the mother figure to attract public sympathy, the word ‘susu’ (also a wordplay on Soeharto) became the slogan for the rally while the group distributed milk powder and roses at the busy Hotel Indonesia roundabout. The strategy was necessary to make it appear that the women were concerned about mothers who could not buy milk for their children due to the Asian financial crisis as there was a shoot-at-sight order issued at place.
This pivotal role feminist had in the transition to the democracy of today’s Indonesia is absent in historical books. Western scholars categorised it as merely a mothers’ movement, suggesting a reluctance in admitting that Asian women also comprehend feminism and are able to denounce repressive politics. Meanwhile, there is an ongoing rejection to the feminist movement in indonesia as it is assumed to not have any social and cultural roots in Indonesia’s society, hindering the development of the discourse beyond grassroot issues.